So, you’re just starting out, or maybe you’ve been writing for a while, but need to work on marketing yourself. Where to begin?
I’m new here myself, but I’ve put together a list of tips that others have passed on to me, that I’ve found helpful. I hope you do, too. 🙂
Before I begin with the seven tips I’ve gathered here, I’d like to offer a bit of perspective about the mindset. It’s really important to understand that, as an author, you really are very similar to a small business. Small businesses need to get the word out about the services they offer. For our purposes, the “services” we offer are, of course, the books that we write. When you’re new, or even if you’re not, but you’d like to expand your readership, you have to find ways to tell people what services you offer. Readers have particular tastes, and are often reticent to spend money on products they may or may not like. For example, if one of my favorite authors comes out with a new release, I’m pretty likely to snag the book without look much past the blurb. But for a new author, I’m more likely to read a sample, read reviews, and see if other people also liked the books.
Now, it’s true that if you’re publishing with a traditional publishing company, the traditional publisher does some marketing for you. However, there are many books that are published weekly, so it’s important to share with others what your flavor of books is like. People are much more likely to purchase a book by an author with a familiar name.
So how do you get started establishing readership? Here are seven tips I’ve gathered from a variety of sources. Please do feel free to share your tips as well!
1. GET IN TOUCH WITH OTHERS
Now, most tips that I’ve found that are helpful can be a bit intimidating at first. I think this is one area I found most challenging…getting to know others in the writing community.
I’ve got to say, the spanking writing community is a thriving community that I’ve found so supportive and helpful. Reach out, and you will find that many are willing and able to help you out. Before my first book was published, I wrote to a few authors I already knew, and every one of them wrote back to me, sharing invaluable tips and encouragment. How to reach out? Well, maybe you’ve read a book you loved. Take a minute to write to the author and tell them that you loved the book. Write a review. Support your fellow authors, and try to get to know them. Comment on their blog posts, or facebook statuses, or leave a review. There’s truth in the adage, “To have good friends, be a good friend.”
2. GET SOCIAL
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…there are many. Those are the only ones I use personally, and I’m really new to this, but it’s fun to pop in and post a picture, get to know people, etc. You can also use an app to link all social media together. Spend a little time seeing what your favorite writers post, and learn how to do it yourself. It gets a little tricky if you have multiple accounts. One author recommended I use separate browers for each of my “personas” and I love that tip. I have also recently learned of apps that connect you via social media, and some find those save a lot of time.
Facebook – great to connect with others. Post on their statuses, see who has a new release coming, share your own work. I chose a pair of red lips holding a pen as my first profile page, but once you have your first book cover, that works really well as well.
Twitter – post links, cover reveals, one liners about your book, etc.
Instagram – anything and everything involving a picture.
Here’s a great article with helpful tips: How Successful Authors Use Social Media
3. GET AN AUTHOR BLOG, EMAIL, AND AUTHOR PAGES
If you are going to be active in the writing community, then it only follows you need a way for people to connect with you. Some prefer to be very open socially and others more reserved; find what works best for you. Personally I use gmail for my e-mail, because on my phone I can do a very convenient drop-down feature to go right from my personal account to my author account. Love it.
Blogs are also tremendously helpful. When you have a blog, you can post about your upcoming release, and also join blog hops (more on that below). You can blog about the genre, post short stories, share your new cover, and the like. Take a look at some of your favorite authors’ blogs, and see what you like about them. There are loads of helpful resources available for how to get started blogging. Blogger and WordPress are two free platforms widely used by writers. There are others as well, but those are fairly common. Renee Rose has a great article on blogging here: GETTING BLOG HITS AND WEB TRAFFIC
Once your first book is published, it’s time to set up an Amazon author page. This is very easy to do. Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and click Join Now. You’ll need a bio, and there will also be an option to link your blog, so have at least one of those ready to go. In minutes, you’ll have an Amazon author page.
Sign up for Goodreads as well! Amazon and Goodreads are connected, so many find that Goodreads pages automatically generate.
4. PARTICIPATE IN BLOG HOPS
Renee Rose and Cara Bristol have posted excellent articles that explain how to do a blog hop, the best ones to do, and why they benefit you as a writer.
Renee’s article is here: BEST BLOG HOPS FOR EROTIC AUTHORS
And Cara Bristol’s is here: TEN TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SNIPPET HOP
5. HOST OTHERS AND PROMOTE THEIR WORK
Host others on your blog. Ask around to see if any are willing to host you on theirs. This is a fun, easy way to get social and have others share about your new book. Authors are frequently looking for more blog material, and typically are more than willing to have you come and pay them a visit!
What do you send them when you want to visit? What’s typically recommended is a media kitn or press release kit. What’s a media kit? Simply put, it’s a file you can easily send to other authors for them to put straight on their blog. If it’s easy for them, then they’re more likely to want to host you. In a media kit, you want to do things like have a blurb about your new release, a cover (many prefer this sent separately), an excerpt, your bio, and links for where they can buy your book. HERE’S A HELPFUL ARTICLE. There are many more, if you spend a little time looking around.
6. JOIN FORUMS PARTICULARLY SUITED FOR YOUR GENRE:
Renee Rose: writesexright.com
So, you have a cover, but have you seen the cute graphics some use? A picture with a quote from a book that just drew you in? These are pretty easy to do. I’ve done my own by downloading free stock photos (be careful to read the fine print – some are not truly free) and using a free photo-editing software (Pixlr) to add a quote. Canva is also very popular!
You can also have someone do this for you. If you’re looking for someone who does excellent work reasonably-priced, I recommend you get in touch with Summer Graystone: firstname.lastname@example.org (Facebook and Twitter banner ads for $5!)
Bookbub is a newsletter marketing tool that reaches millions. If you submit your request to Bookbut to be featured, expect to be rejected initially. There is a fee, but if you are with a traditional publisher, ask them if they will cover the fee. And some find that it’s a very worthwhile investment. The erotica category alone has over one million subscribers!
7. WRITE, WRITE, THEN WRITE SOME MORE!
I have good news. Even though things like social media, blog posts, and other marketing tools I’ve shared here can be really beneficial, one of the best ways to market youself is by doing something that most of us already love doing – writing! How does this work in your favor when it comes to marketing?
Simply put, when a reader reads and loves your book, the very first thing they will do is look to see what else you’ve written. So when you sit down to write, remember that publishing more books is going to really work in your favor as you establish creating your “brand,” and establishing a readership Keep on keepin’ on when it comes to your writing.
Quick tip: one of the very best things I’ve found to help me with this personally, and I’ve heard others say the same, is to find the best time of day when the writing flows. Early morning is my favorite time, and some people like working during the day when the kids are at school, or at night when everyone is in bed. Write, write, and then write a little more. I know that if I write in the morning I can get 2,000 words in the same amount of time that I would only get 1,000 in the afternoon. So, I write in the morning and spend my time elsewhere in the afternoons. This is what works for me. I suggest spending just a bit of time finding what works best for you. And then, once you have, commit to a certain word count or time frame that you will devote exclusively to writing. Throw your phone in airplane mode and close all your browsers, and have at it!
If you have anything to add to this discussion, please comment below and I will edit the post! Thanks! 🙂